Bhutan’s tasty cuisine has influences from India, China and Thailand. Here, we’ve got something local, international, simple and gastronomic choices in Thimphu!
Not every restaurant in Thimphu has a website or can be found on Google Map. But they’re all located in downtown area of Thimphu, and known by locals and drivers.
1. Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant – Best Traditional Dishes
$$$$ Folk Heritage Museum, Kawajangsa, Thimphu, Bhutan ( (map, website)
Located inside Folk Heritage Museum, the restaurant has got some serious reputation for its delectable Bhutanese dishes. This one, unlike most restaurants in Thimphu, is NOT part of Bhutan’s daily travel fee ($250/day), so you do need to pay. But the ambiance is fantastic, meaning: clean, traditional decor with a crowd of both locals and internationals. Please expect to stand in line, buffet style. This is definitely worth getting outta the chair for!
2. Bhutan Kitchen – Best Basic Staple
$$$$ Changlam, PO Box 1116, Thimphu, Bhutan (website)
Here, you’ll get a mix of locals and travelers because the food is simple, real, and to the point. If you’re expecting some extravagant dining hall, then Bhutanese Kitchen isn’t where you should be. But if you want a great stop for a quick lunch break, this place serves up some great dishes that your mouth will keep watering for. Great marinated chicken dishes, stir-fry vegetables with local chilis…yum! It’s located on the top floor of a modern building, where you’ll spot a local Planet Gym.
3. Chula – Best Indian Grub
$$$$ KMT inside Bhutan Observer Building, Thimphu, Bhutan (map)
Huge fan of punjabi and tikki masala? You can’t go wrong getting real good Indian food in Bhutan since the two cultures are deeply connected to each other. Chula is neat, simple so you can eat here worry-free if hygiene is a big issue. Highly recommended are tandoori dishes, and if you’re vegetarian, this is also a delicious option!
4. Hotel Galingkha Restaurant – Best Comfort Zone
$$$$ Norzin Lam, Post Box: 368, Thimphu, Bhutan (website)
If you’re craving for something Asian but not completely Bhutanese, Hotel Galingkha’s restaurant is your perfect fix. The interior is clean, modern with a feng shui waterfall. We devoured a slew of dishes that had a heavy Chinese influence, and all were tasty! So this spot is ideal for someone who doesn’t want to step too much outside of the box and looking for something less local. Sometimes, that’s not such a bad thing!
5. Musk Restaurant – Best Local Hangout
$$$$ Clock Tower Square, Thimphu, Bhutan
Located right next to the clock tower, this spot might be a bit “too local” for some travelers who don’t like to venture out. But if you don’t mind sitting down, eavesdropping on some local convos, or hygiene isn’t a big deal in your travel book, then definitely experiment with the noodle soups here. There’s nothing better than being on the road, mixing in with the people who actually live there and taste some true, down-to-earth Bhutanese dishes!